White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is not having a good 2017 so far.
His first few days on the job were spent having to defend the newly inaugurated president’s attack on just about everybody who was in the office before him and his quickly declared war on the media.
He made himself fodder for Saturday Night Live writers with his method of explaining Donald Trump’s executive orders. And most recently, he engaged in a dustup with veteran White House correspondent April Ryan in which he scolded her, telling her to “stop shaking your head.”
But on Tuesday, he seemed to top it all.
At the daily White House press briefing, Spicer was speaking about last week’s decision by the Trump administration to launch an assault on Syria in response to what it says was a chemical weapons attack by the forces of Syrian leader Bashar Assad. In doing so, he erroneously drew comparison between Assad and Hitler.
“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said.
He tried to clear it up by saying Hitler did use chemical weapons, but “I think when you come to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.” He also said Hitler brought them to “Holocaust centers,” but probably meant Nazi death camps.
Press Sec. on Hitler/Assad comments: “He was not using the gas on his own people the same way…he brought them into the Holocaust centers.” pic.twitter.com/mO9EsWM4QT
— ABC News (@ABC) April 11, 2017
Okay there are waaaay too many things wrong with what he said to even really list. But what he seemed to be trying to do was show how extremely, criminally deranged a dictator Assad is and outline his culpability in chemical weapons attacks throughout the Syrian civil war. That’s no secret, the United Nations has repeatedly blamed him for using banned material throughout the conflict.
But Spicer’s choice of words. About use of chemical weapons. About World War II. About Hitler. On the first full day of Passover.
It’s probably not an understatement to suggest he is now just as abhorred as his boss.
First off, any schoolkid who has studied world history knows that Hitler did, in fact, use chemical weapons during World War II. The primary people he used them against were 6 million Jews who died in concentration camps primarily in Poland. He also established work and prison camps in Nazi-occupied countries throughout Europe, that also brutalized and killed Blacks, Catholics, communists, LGBTQs, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Romas and any number of people with Slavic ancestry.
Nobody’s saying Assad is some angel compared to Hitler. The UN has said that as many as 400,000 people have died in a seven-year-old war that happened as a result of his brutal response to demonstrations against him. But this guy is bad enough. To bring in Hitler, someone the world will forever consider a symbol of murderous hatred didn’t help his argument.
Needless to say, Twitter had a field day with Spicer.
The Anne Frank Center went in and demanded he be fired:
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) April 11, 2017
New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne was among the first to call for Spicer’s resignation.
— Donald Payne Jr. (@RepDonaldPayne) April 11, 2017
But it didn’t take long for others to do the same.
I do not see how Sean Spicer can be allowed to continue in his current position. https://t.co/9mZnuAiA4y
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) April 11, 2017
Others started what will probably be days of similar social media quips about the comments.
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) April 11, 2017
George Takei of “Star Trek,” who himself was held in an American internment camp as a child during World War II, noted that at least Spicer took the heat off United Airlines.
Well, yesterday Pepsi was grateful for United, and today United is grateful for Sean Spicer.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) April 11, 2017